Pushkar Fair in Pushkar, Camel Fair in Pushkar India, Pushkar Camel Fair
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Rajasthan Tours Travel  »  Festivals of Rajasthan  »  Pushkar Fair - Pushkar

Pushkar Fair - Pushkar

The charming little laid back town of Pushkar is a picturesque contrast of white and blue, it's completely white washed city sits around the holy lake, a refreshing blue. Its other famous contrasts include its cultural mix of holy temples, hippy culture, Israeli settlers, boho fashions, rustic Rajasthani folk, multiple cuisines and backpackers from around the world.

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Pushkar Camel Festival , PushkarIn the month of Kartik this sleepy oasis converts into giant jamboree and this town of 13,000 takes on the onslaught of humanity and livestock in stride and that too with panache, providing everything from places to tether camels to western-style lodgings and amenities. After all it's the time of the year to take part in the world's biggest camel fair coinciding with the festival that honours Brahma. The 200,000 pilgrims, farmers and camel drivers who attend it each year are joined by 50,000 camels and cattle, all descending on the small town of Pushkar at the edge of the Marusthali Desert. They, in turn, are joined by Hindu holy men, vendors, musicians, actors, tattoo artists, marriage brokers, outsiders and tourists in a combination county fair, hoedown, shivaree and Chautauqua that lasts seven days. It is said that, for pure spectacle, scope, raucousness, color and happy hell-raising, no other fair on earth can quite compare to it.

The all-inclusive warmth of the Rajasthani people makes the fair such an extraordinary cultural event that locals, traders, pilgrims and tourists alike, mingle and celebrate together. If you are a traveler here don't be surprised to find yourself dressed in a colourful costume, dancing, playing games and competing at games you may have never even heard of. Travelers are also offered concessional rates on camels if they'd like to buy one.

The riotous costumes of the desert folk, add more of a celebratory touch to this event. Men sport gaudy turbans and women are decked out in full regalia, long heavily pleated skirts teamed with embroidered blouses, colourful scarves draped over their heads, bangled by the armful and bejeweled from head to toe, a wonderful photo-op, for free. The chief participant of the fair, the camel takes pride of place here, not far behind its fashion conscious owners it too is washed, preened and decked up in long strings of cowries, beads; colourful, woven saddle-straps and embroidered back-covers and for the final touch, it is perfumed!

Over the first five days of the fair, camels, horses, cows, goats and sheep are sold and purchased. The camel however is the focus of all the fuss and many a camel sport is organised. Camel races are usually the first of these and it truly is a thrilling scene to see a large number of these lumbering beasts thunder through the fields raising up clouds of dust. Then comes the event analogous to musical chairs. Here, each time the music stops, the camel is supposed to manage to stick its long arching neck between two poles, a hilarious event where the camel owner guides its entrant by tugging on a silken cord attached to its nose ring.

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The beauty contest judges each camel on its gait, choice of equipment and ornament and its capacity to interpret and carry out commands. There's a whole other competitive camel world out there. The cheery on the cake however is the last competition called 'laadoo oonth', it tests the strength of the camel to see how much weight the camel can carry, man after man clamber onto the ridge-like back of the camel, each clutching at the other to retain the collectively precarious position. It is not an uncommon sight to see the human cargo come crashing down as the camel tries to get to its feet. And what is more the willing tourist is welcome to join in.

Pushkar Fair The fair also has a variety of stalls, selling everything from silver jewellery to clothes to tattoos. Ferris wheels and other circus attractions are also hugely popular here. The city also has a large number of eateries providing everything from falafel, pastas and pizzas to authentic Rajasthani cuisine. And each night, once the dust has settled, the sounds of folk music, storytellers, dances and partying carries well out into the desert.

The fair closes on the sacred day of Kartik Purnima with a splash. On this day the waters of the famed Pushkar lake are said to wash away the sins of a lifetime. The mystical water is also believed to cure skin diseases, making Pushkar the Lourdes of the east . After bathing, the devotees line up in long colourful queues to take their turn to worship the Creator, Brahma.

On the last night of the fair the waters of the lake are resplendent with thousands of lamps and flowers floating on its surface. A beautiful and befitting end to this intense celebration.

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